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North Sea deal to protect thousands of jobs in the green energy transition

North Sea deal to protect thousands of jobs in the green energy transition

Highly-skilled oil and gas workers and the supply chain will not be left behind in the transition to a low carbon future, the UK Government has vowed as it looks to exploit new and emerging technologies such as hydrogen.

Today’s (24th March) move is arguably what the oil and gas sector has been waiting for, as talks around net zero and carbon free fuels continue to hinder the oil and gas sector, putting many jobs at risk in the major sector.

Avoiding such losses, the government and trade unions will work with the oil and gas sector to deliver the skills, innovation and new infrastructure required to decarbonise North Sea production. Such corporation will take place over the next decade and beyond.

Through the package of measures, the deal is expected to cut pollution by up to 60 million tonnes by 2030 including 15 million tonnes from oil and gas production on the UK Continental Shelf – the equivalent of annual emissions from 90% of the UK’s homes – while supporting up to 40,000 jobs across the supply chain.

According to research from the Oil & Gas Authority, the UK Continental Shelf can provide 60% of the UK’s overall carbon reduction requirements to meet Net Zero 2050, through electrification, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and offshore wind.

Not only will the deal support existing companies to decarbonise in preparation for a net zero future by 2050, but it will also create the right business environment to attract new industrial sectors to base themselves in the UK, develop new export opportunities for British business, and secure new high-value jobs for the long-term.

Commenting on the move, Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said, “Today, we are sending a clear message around the world that the UK will be a nation of clean energy as we build back better and greener from the pandemic.”

“We will not leave oil and gas workers behind in the UK’s irreversible shift away from fossil fuels. Through this landmark sector deal, we will harness the skills, capabilities and pent-up private investment potential of the oil and gas sector to power the green industrial revolution, turning its focus to the next-generation clean technologies the UK needs to support a green economy.”

Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan added, “We need to urgently end our reliance on fossil fuels and through our pioneering North Sea Transition Deal we will do so without putting our economy and communities at risk.”

“While the future oil and gas sector will look very different to how it does today, the industry, businesses and supply chains it supports will have a new mission to help the UK decarbonise and develop the clean technologies of the future, as we lead the green industrial revolution.”

Industry reaction

The announcement has been welcomed by those fully immersed in hydrogen. Andy Hemingway, President of Energy Optimisation and Innovation at Wood, said, “Today’s announcement further underlines the UK’s commitment to hydrogen production as a key resource for domestic, transport and industrial sectors, and aids the transition of the oil and gas supply chain to support new energy resources.”

“If carbon drove the industrial revolution, then hydrogen will underpin the low-carbon transformation we need as we build towards a net zero future.”


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